Mission and Vision

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) is an independent federal agency created in 1965. It is one of the largest funders of humanities programs in the United States. Because democracy demands wisdom, NEH serves and strengthens our republic by promoting excellence in the humanities and conveying the lessons of history to all Americans. The Endowment accomplishes this mission by awarding grants for top-rated proposals examined by panels of independent, external reviewers.

Grant Program Highlights

Division of Education Programs
The Division of Education Programs works to strengthen humanities education through programs aimed at pre-collegiate and post-secondary levels of study. Through intensive summer programs of reading and discussion with recognized scholars, individual teachers have opportunities to strengthen their mastery of the subjects they teach in history, philosophy, literature and languages, world cultures, art history, and political science, among others. These residential programs encourage schoolteachers and college teachers to study common texts, visit collections in libraries and museums, exchange ideas about the art of teaching, and share insights and materials with their colleagues and students. The Division has several grant programs to support institutional endeavors.

Division of Preservation and Access Programs
A substantial portion of the nation's cultural heritage and intellectual legacy is held in libraries, archives, and museums. These repositories are responsible for preserving and making available collections of books, serials, manuscripts, sound recordings, still and moving images, works of art, objects of material culture, and rapidly expanding digital collections. The challenge is great: to preserve diverse formats of materials that are threatened by factors inherent in their physical structures or by the environments in which they are housed, and to create a level of intellectual control sufficient to enable users to find and use the materials relevant to them. Increasingly, these humanities collections are being used to create the kind of Web-based resources that NEH supports, such as encyclopedias, dictionaries, descriptive catalogs, and digital archives. Both the creators and users of these resources also need our support to develop digital tools to enhance access to and promote integration of these materials. The division's grant programs recognize that good stewardship of cultural resources requires equal attention both to preservation and to access. All of the division's programs focus on ensuring the long-term and wide availability of primary resources in the humanities.

Division of Public Programs
The Division of Public Programs supports a wide range of public humanities programs that reach large and diverse public audiences. These programs make use of a variety of formats—interpretation at historic sites, television and radio productions, museum exhibitions, Web sites, and other digital media.

Division of Research Programs
The Division of Research Programs supports scholarly research that advances knowledge and understanding of the humanities. Awards are made to scholars working on research projects of significance to specific humanities fields and to the humanities as a whole. For example, grants support projects as diverse as the deciphering and editing of the Dead Sea Scrolls, and the editing of the correspondence of Charles Darwin.

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